Makin' savings routine

The electric bills add up at home. And that means any sustained savings on the monthly tab will compound over time, too.

Jim Wang at Bargaineering.com has some suggestions on ways to save money on electricity. But what I really like from the post is this insight:

One of the great lessons of personal finance, and in life, is that if you can "set it and forget it" then more people will do it. Make automatic contributions to your 401(k), make automatic transfers from your checking to savings - make automatic and you'll go far. That's why a programmable thermostat makes so much sense. Automatically turn on and off your HVAC for the times you can appreciate the heat (or cool), saving energy and money on the times you won't appreciate it.

He's right. Automate savings whenever you can.

Sticking with the practical, I just spent several hundred dollars getting my car repaired. It was well worth it since it's debt-free and I plan on driving the car into the ground. But I also know that there is another bill in my future since the the snow and ice is brutal on a car. Here's a good review of the basics.

Complaints about auto repairs consistently rank among the top 10 grievances filed to state attorneys general, according to the National Association of Attorneys General. In 2008, the latest figures available, auto repair complaints ranked No. 6 on the list.

The bottom line: It really pays to find a good mechanic. I'm happy to say that mine is terrific.

The number of homes in foreclosure in the third quarter of 2010 rose 31% compared with the second quarter of the year. Foreclosures are up 3.7% from a year earlier.

Interested in buying one of these foreclosed homes? I think it's a much riskier proposition than its often portrayed. Nevertheless, if you're in the market here's a brief guide to using Google Maps to find "homes in your area that are either in pre-foreclosure or are already banked owned."

If

About the author

Chris Farrell is the economics editor of Marketplace Money.

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